Smoking with Charlotte Jones

Read the Story September 15, 2003

When you left your career in management consulting behind, were there any specific people who inspired you to take up writing?

I have always wanted to write, even as a teenager my notes to my girlfriends rhymed. I had a wonderful history teacher in high school who encouraged creativity, so I used to write plays or poems for assignments, instead of boring structured essays. My physicist father pushed me toward more practical ways of making a living, but now that I can, I’ve returned to my first love. My creative writing teacher, Chris Woods, inspires me to try new things.

Do you find that your photography helps you with writing? Or vise versa?

Absolutely. I’m a very visual 3-D thinker, so if I can create an image in my mind, it’s easier to write about. We often use visual prompts (photographs or paintings) in my creative writing classes. And if I’m out taking pictures, I’m thinking about the “story” that the series of pictures will tell.

The old chestnut: who are some of your favorite authors? Favorite books?

I read a wide variety of stuff: everything from the comics (daily, first thing), to War and Peace (Tolstoy) to Harry Potter to edgy lit mags like Nerve Cowboy. If I were forced to name a favorite, it would probably be War and Peace because his descriptions are so detailed, it’s like watching a movie. (And by the way, I only read it for the first time last year.) I tend to like whatever I’m reading at the moment, though, and right now I’m being blown away by The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. Next on my “to read” list is Savage Beauty: The Life of Edna St. Vincent Millay about the first woman to win the Pulitzer for poetry.

And why do you write, anyway?

Why do I write? I’m not one of the tortured souls who had an unhappy childhood so I HAVE to write. I write because it entertains me. Sometimes I laugh out loud at characters I create. It makes me more observant of the world around me (I hear some bizarre conversation at a cocktail party and I think, Hey, I can use that in a play.) Basically, I write because it’s fun. It beats the heck out of sitting around a conference table all day arguing over “data structures,” which is what I used to do.

About the Author:

After a twenty-year career as a management consultant, Charlotte Jones reinvented herself as a writer and photographer. Her writing has appeared in Texas Magazine, Suddenly, Nerve Cowboy, and Sideshow: Tales of the Bigtop and the Bizarre. Her photography has appeared in Promise and Odyssey and has accompanied a Houston Symphony Performance.

About the Artist:

A native of Ohio, Marty D. Ison lives with his wife transplanted in the sands of the Gulf of Mexico. He studied fine arts at Saint Petersburg College. In addition to the visual arts, he writes poetry, short stories, and novels. See more of Ison's work here.